I have two passport one is Saudi and the other is British.

My question is I am in Saudi Arabia and I want to travel to the UK and back how does that work?

And do I need a visa for any of the two counties?


You need a visa for neither country because you are a citizen of each.

When you enter a country, in order not to need a visa, you show them the passport of that country.

In your case, when arriving to Saudi Arabia, you show them the Saudi passport. When arriving to the UK, say after you get back, you show them the UK one. You obviously need to have both with you but you always show one at any given time.

It is possible there are legal exceptions, but this works in most parts of the world. For Saudi Arabia, which gives no visas to tourists, you pretty much have no choice.

  • That could be a bit sticky. If you gave a nationality when buying your airline ticket, stick to that one, or they will ask why.
    – RedSonja
    Sep 10 '14 at 14:04
  • 3
    @RedSonja If mosab tries to fly to Saudi Arabia with a UK passport and no visa, the airline will refuse to let him board, because he does not have the documentation he needs to be admitted by immigration authorities. Similarly, if he tries to fly to the UK with a Saudi passport and no visa, he will not be allowed to board. He very much needs to check in using the passport of the country he is flying to. If the airline does ask why, what's the problem? Just say "I am a dual citizen."
    – phoog
    May 4 '15 at 17:12

Show your Saudi passport to the Saudi Immigration, show your British passport to UK immigration. If the airline asks if you have a Visa for the UK show them your UK passport.

Do not show Saudi Immigration your UK passport. As I understand you may get into trouble if you do.

I do this all the time and it's never been an issue for me. it used to be that you could get a certificate of right of abode in your Saudi passport that acted like a permanent visa meaning that you didn't need the UK passport, but they don't issue these any more.

  • Wouldn't this be a problem if you don't show UK passport to Saudi immigration when you leave? I know in my country they would ask for the visa of the country you are travelling to.
    – Elchin
    Jul 15 '13 at 9:18
  • Not really the immigration officers are only checking that you are allowed to leave the country. They don't even ask where you are going so they can't really ask you if you have permission to go there. It's the immigration officer at the other end's responsibility to determine if you are allowed to enter their country. Jul 16 '13 at 16:08
  • As far as I can tell, the UK still issues (or perhaps has resumed issuing) certificates of the right of abode: gov.uk/right-of-abode/apply-for-a-certificate-of-entitlement. They are expensive, though, costing £223 or £289, depending on whether you apply in the UK or abroad.
    – phoog
    May 4 '15 at 17:18

There are three different (groups of) people you show your passport to on an international flight.

  1. Immigration exit on the country you are leaving
  2. The airline you're flying with
  3. Immigration entry in the country you are entering

The rules for all dual nationals flying between their two countries are:

  • Always show your passport for a country to that country's officials
  • Always show the passport for your destination to the airline.

So, flying from the UK to Saudi, you show your Saudi passport at check-in (airline), then your UK passport to immigration exit (UK immigration), and then your Saudi passport again at the gate (airline). When you land, you show your Saudi passport to immigration entry (Saudi immigration).

Flying from Saudi to the UK, you show your UK passport at check-in (airline), then your Saudi passport to immigration exit (Saudi immigration), and then your UK passport again at the gate (airline). When you land, you show your UK passport to immigration entry (UK immigration).

  • What happens if I show the passport of the other country (because e.g. the other one has expired)?
    – quant_dev
    Apr 27 '16 at 18:49
  • @quant_dev Depends on the country. Some countries have a law against their citizens entering on a foreign passport - in which case, you've broken that law and potentially subjected yourself to whatever punishments that represents. Some countries ban dual nationality and will take you using a foreign passport as abandoning their nation - and will cancel that passport. Some countries don't care. Apr 27 '16 at 19:01

There are usually multiple places where you'll have to show passports and things can get a bit tricky. Obviously you'll use the passport of the country whose passport you are at. But often you want to show the passport of the destination country at check in to show the airline company that you have the appropriate visas/residency.

So for example for a trip from Germany to the US the sequence is as follows:

  • Check in with the US passport (Airline will actually send that info to the US)
  • Use German passport for passport control when exiting Germany
  • Enter US with US passport
  • 1
    The US is a special case in that you must enter it with your US passport if you are a US citizen (I am not sure if this is a requirement in Germany).
    – Relaxed
    May 30 '13 at 10:44
  • It's not a special case. If you are a citizen of the country you are must use its identification documents (i.e. passport). That applies to any country.
    – Claus
    May 30 '13 at 17:17
  • 1
    Why would that be? It's obviously up to each country to pass laws requiring that if they see fit.
    – Relaxed
    Jun 2 '13 at 8:47
  • 1
    And obviously in many cases the question is moot because you need to show your passport/establish your citizenship to prove your right to enter the country but, to my knowledge, it's not illegal or punishable, say, to enter France on a German passport as a French-German binational whereas pretending to be a tourist in the US if you are a US citizen would be…
    – Relaxed
    Jun 2 '13 at 8:59
  • Another problem with this answer is that it depends on the fact that US citizens enjoy visa-free travel in Germany. How would it work if the dual nationality was with a country where that is not the case? The traveler would have to show the other passport when checking in.
    – phoog
    May 4 '15 at 17:15

I would just like to add a small detail to the otherwise excellent answers of Richard Gadsden and Omar Kooheji:

  • some countries do not have actually immigration exit checks performed by immigration officers at airports, they rely on airlines to provide the relevant information

  • this is for instance the case in the US, as well as in the UK

  • in this case, when travelling from that country to your other passport's country, you do indeed show you destination country's passport, but they may ask for the other passport

  • this was for instance the case in the US before the current Visa Waiver Program was set up: on arrival, foreigners would get a part of the I-94W form stapled into their passport, and the airline was supposed to collect it to return to immigration authorities. If you entered with an US passport, and then exited with another passport, they would be missing the form in the passport, so would need to see your US passport to clear things out.

  • don't know how they sort it out nowadays (they probably keep track of your APIN data from both legs), but in the US case at least I don't believe I have been asked about it in a while

Conclusion: don't be surprised if the check-in agents ask to see the other passport (the one from the current country). This will most certainly depend on the pair of countries, of course.

  • The airlines were rarely strict about collecting I-94 forms. My wife has several of them still. I suppose the same was true of I-94W forms, too. I routinely show my non- US passport at check-in without so much as a raised eyebrow.
    – phoog
    Jan 7 '16 at 11:40

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